Help on offer for residents as Universal Credit cut looms

Cllr John Williams, lead cabinet member for finance and South Cambs District Council

Cllr John Williams, lead cabinet member for finance and South Cambs District Council - Credit: SCDC

Measures have been put in place to help recipients of Universal Credit in South Cambs, who are faced with a £20 per week cut at the beginning of October.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed to South Cambridgeshire District Council that the government will proceed with the cut, after the council called on him to reverse that decision in a council meeting in July.

According to data from the Joseph Rowntree foundation, over 17,000 families will be affected by the cut across the constituencies of Cambridge, South Cambs and South East Cambs.

Speaking about how affected residents will be helped, the district council's lead member for finance, Cllr John Williams said: "We have, through our discretionary housing payments and hardship support funds, helped over 200 residents, with the total financial assistance awarded so far in 2021 exceeding £107,000.

“Going forward the removal of the uplift can only make this situation worse. Those residents who now or in the future find it difficult to pay their bills, including council tax and rent, we would ask that they contact us as soon as possible to discuss the support options available for their circumstances."

Liberal Democrat Cllr Ian Sollom, who asked Cllr Williams what would be done to help affected residents, said: "This cut will impact more than one in five of all families with children across our area, families who have already struggled so much during the pandemic.

"It’s good that the district council is stepping up to help where it can, but this cut, especially combined with energy price increases and inflation, and a National Insurance hike next year, will do untold damage to so many of our local families. 

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"There is no question that government should reverse this needless cut and support normal working people here."

The government cut to Universal Credit will be introduced from October 6, and will amount to the equivalent of £1,040 a year.

Early contact is key to prevent debt problems from escalating, so any South Cambridgeshire residents who are experiencing difficulties are advised to contact the district council as soon as possible.